In this House of Earth and Blood book review I share my thoughts on the first book in the Crescent City series by Sarah J Maas. I will try my hardest to keep this review spoiler free, however, there may be a few small spoilers.
“The power shall always belong to those who give their lives for the city.” Sarah J Maas, House of Earth and Blood
After reading A Court of Thorns and Roses I was looking for more from Sarah J Maas because I was officially hooked. I remember the first time I read it, I got to the end and was really upset with myself for picking up a book that didn’t already have a sequel.
Well, with House of Sky and Breath coming out on February 15th I knew I needed to do a reread of House of Earth and Blood. Mainly because there is a lot that goes on in the first book of the Crescent City series that I knew I wanted a fresh memory of what had happened.
Additionally, reading it again allows me to give you a review with the book fresh on my mind as I just finished it last night. Right off the bat, I knew what was going to happen and I still ugly cried the second time around reading this book. The mark of a great book for me is that it emotionally damaged me.
Since we don’t always get trigger warnings on books I like to give trigger warnings in my reviews. This can help people avoid certain triggers that could hurt their mental well being.
Possible Triggers in this book are:
- Gun Violence
- Sexually Explicity Scenes
- Slut Shaming
For a list of the triggers I look for you can check out this link here. This may or may not be a complete list of triggers for this book, I do my best to make sure I mark anything that could be a potential trigger but I may accidentally miss triggers.
Synopsis and Author
Bryce Quinlan is a half-fae and half-human living in Lunathion – otherwise known as Crescent City. This is a modern city with modern technology where fae, witches, archangels, shifters and more live and work.
Hunt Athalar is a fallen angel who’s now enslaved to do the bidding of Micah Domitus the archangel and head of Crescent City.
Two years after a demon killed Bryce’s best friend the murders start up again. Bryce is tapped by Micah and paired with Hunt to solve the murders and find the suspect within a month.
This is the first book in the Crescent City series by Sarah J Maas. As usual Sarah J Maas owns me and everything she puts out absolutely ends up on my must buy a physical copy list. Her characters, her world building, the twists and mysteries, all leave you absolutely wanting more.
House of Earth and Blood Reading Experience
House of Earth and Blood takes place in Lunathion which is a city in Valbara. A modern city built as a model of the ancient city and updated so the future could grow here. There are seven gates, 6 on the outskirts of the city and one at the center of the city in The Old Square.
Sarah J Maas builds a world filled with modern advances while magic still runs mostly free in the city. I didn’t think I would like the combination of the two but in the end the setting in this book is stunning.
Bryce and Hunt are our main characters in the book but we also get Ruhn (Bryce’s half brother from her father’s side) as an additional point of view. I liked having these three points of views right off the bat because I know I won’t be struggling in the next book when we get all three and possible additional points of view.
This book has a lot going on, it’s almost difficult to follow in the beginning, but by a quarter of the way in you pretty much get a handle on the information. The first time I tried to read this book I had to put it down because I was just not ready for all that information. I recommend reading it with a clear and awake head for the beginning quarter of the book.
Even though there was a lot going on the plot, dialogue, and setting just sucks you right in. Once I got into this book there was no putting it down. I recommend reading it over a weekend because you aren’t going to want to put this down when you have to go to work or take care of other things.
I would not say there is just one overarching theme in this book because there is a lot that takes place with not just the plot but also in character development. So power and corruption, good vs. evil, faith vs. doubt, loneliness, and revenge are all recurring themes throughout this book.
Sarah J Maas likes to write big books and at over 800 pages and 97 chapters this is a big book. It can be a bit intimidating at first but like with all of Sarah J Maas books, this one is filled with excellent world building and dialogue that keeps you going.
Oftentimes, with large books it can feel like the story is too descriptive or filled with fluff. I did not get that from this book. In fact, rereading this book in preparation for the second book in the series proved to me that every part of this book is intentional in some way shape or form.
Despite the length of the book and the initial shock of information and world building it became an easy to read book with brilliant plans, twists, and mystery. I found myself super attached to the characters in this book and got extremely emotionally involved.
House of Earth and Blood Book Review
I’ve got a lot to say about this book and while I hope to keep it mostly spoiler free I want to make it clear I may have a few small spoilers.
I loved Bryce. While she comes across like someone who doesn’t care about anyone it’s clear that she does care very deeply about her friends. She’s built up this barrier around herself and very rarely lets anyone in and it’s a form of protection. I related a lot to Bryce and absolutely fell in love with this character.
Ruhn is a favorite character of mine. He is loyal and protective over those he loves and will stop at nothing to make sure they are safe. He’s smart and a smart ass and I love that combination. However, you see in his interactions with Bryce just how caring he really is and that he has this soft side to him.
Lehabah, my little smutty sprite. I love this character. She is beautiful, sweet, and always looks for the good in people.
Danika is another favorite. We learn a lot about her throughout the book and you just fall for her more and more until the end you are literally balling at how beautiful the friendship between her and Bryce is.
Fury, we don’t see a lot of Fury in this book but what we do see is a lot of fantastic badass moments. She’s extremely guarded but in the end is someone you absolutely want to have your back.
Syrinx, if you know you know and I need Syrinx in my life with the quickness.
I hated Jesiba, she is that micromanaging boss we have all had and that just grinds me to no end. While I get a feeling she’s not all bad, she still falls into my hated characters list for now.
Micah has no redeeming qualities as far as I’m concerned. Self important and arrogant, his power has absolutely gone to his head and he seriously sees himself as a savior, classic narcissist qualities and I hate him.
Sandriel and Pollux combined. I hate both of them equally and while we don’t really get a lot from these two the horror that they had caused Hunt was beyond evil.
The Autumn King, a typical King with belief that he and his throne are more important than anything else. Just a really horrible person in my eyes.
Characters To Grow On Me
I know, I know, Hunt wasn’t in my favorite list. That’s because I’ve read every Sarah J Maas book and I will not allow myself to become attached to the leading man in her first book of a series.
However, I hope he makes it through, that he doesn’t get some unredeeming character arc that puts him in the hate list. He is on my list of characters to grow on me and I hope he makes the cut to favorite in the next book.
Tharion, I don’t feel like we got enough from Tharion and I hope we get more from him in the next book because the hunky mer is absolutely getting the fictional character crush from me.
Hypaxia needs to be a recurring supportive character in this series. I want to see more from this witch who stands up for what is right and isn’t afraid to do it. She’s kick ass and smart while not taking anyone’s crap.
Plot, World, and Writing Style
I don’t actually have any complaints about this book other than why it takes so long to get the next book in the series, I want to know what happens!
The world was beautiful and unique, slow-burn romance that is almost enemies to lovers, the witty dialogue, the differences in characters, and the inclusion was perfect and natural in this book.
One thing I felt was hysterical though was the amount of people complaining in reviews about this book regarding the growls and snarling. There is a part in this book where Sarah J Maas writes about exactly that in the dialogue and it’s hilarious.
Once again Sarah J Maas sucks you in and just takes you along for a ride. She’s a wonderful writer who absolutely owns me. I will be buying her books for as long as she continues to write them.
If you read a lot of fantasy but like dark, gritty, mystery and crime solving stories, this would be a book for you. It’s filled with all the typical fantasy elements but based in a technologically advanced world with a crime solving and mystery story line.
Before I rate this book I want to give you a bit of background about what my rankings mean. I typically read books that I check out through the Libby app with my local library or through Kindle Unlimited.
I rarely buy ebooks unless they are cheaply priced or on sale. I also very rarely buy physical copies of books. I’m a bit of a minimalist so I have to absolutely adore a book to buy a physical copy that will be proudly displayed in my home.
So my ranking system is as follows:
- 5 Stars equals I am buying a physical copy of this book. I will read this book at least 10 more times, it is the best ever.
- 4 stars equals a great book. I might buy an ebook version when it’s on sale so that I can re-read it at least one more time.
- 3 stars equals a good book. I likely won’t read again but I appreciate the story.
- 2 stars equals “Meh.” I will not read this book again, it had a lot of problems and I did not care for it.
- 1 star equals a bad book. I barely finished this book and I will never recommend anyone waste valuable book reading time on this book.
- 0 stars is a did not finish book. I will never finish that book and it is banished.
House of Earth and Blood gets 5 stars from me. I’ve read it twice, both times had me ugly crying and I’ve grown even more emotionally attached to the characters in this series.
- The blend of typical fantasy elements with modern tech.
- The characters and their growth.
- It kept a strong steady pace throughout.
Final Thoughts on House of Earth and Blood
I’m shocked that I can’t come up with a single dislike. While there were parts I didn’t like, they were important parts of the book and would have possibly changed the story if they weren’t included.
I loved the pace, the character development, the plot, and the slow burn on the romance. The heartbreak, emotional rollercoaster, and the emotional attachment I had to these characters was the best.
You can also check out my review for the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas here.
Have you read House of Earth and Blood? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite book boards.